It’s the Australian travelling dream to go through entire states and glide past extensive coastlines in a campervan or 4×4. Set up your swag under the stars and get a cold stubbie out of the esky to watch the sunset over the ocean. Perfect.
Whether you’re an Aussie embracing the COVID-19 restricted era of the staycation or from overseas looking for travel inspiration, this series will cover the best stops for your road trips in each state.
Australia’s huge landmass and expansive roads make it the perfect location for a road trip, and don’t we know it. Many campsites and caravan parks are full to the brim this year as locals re-discover the beauty on their doorstep.
Planning your road trip in Victoria
Despite being the second smallest state in Australia, Victoria is home to 6.4 million people. This makes it the most densely populated state in the country. For those on a road trip, that means lots to see and less worrying about getting stuck hundreds of kilometres from anyone else. With this in mind, Australia is still vast and there will be times you will feel remote and isolated, so make sure you bring plenty of water, a jerry can of fuel and emergencies just in case.
Aside from the vibrant and historic capital city of Melbourne, there are gorgeous seaside towns scattered along the famous Great Ocean Road. You’ll not be short of great food and wine in and around the Yarra Valley and Mornington Peninsula. And, of course, Australia’s natural beauty showcased at the Twelve Apostles, Grampians National Par, Beech Forest, numerous waterfalls and the Murray River (although technically in NSW). We’re excited, so let’s dive in!
Great Ocean Road
This is one of the most famous road trips in Australia. The Great Ocean Road is a coastal scenic drive spanning the southernmost coast of the state. It takes you from Torquay to Allansford. This route attracts many tourists as it has some of the most fantastic views in Australia.
Only two hours out of the CBD, you can be hiking up a 30 metre cascading waterfall at Erskine Falls, enjoying a bite at Apollo Bay and marvelling at the Twelve Apostles rock formations towering from the Southern Ocean. The Twelve Apostles have been carved into Victoria’s dramatic coastline by millions of years of limestone erosion. They are, quite simply, not to be missed.
Exploring the forest
One of the best views in Australia isn’t actually a coastal one. Take a day or weekend to discover the Great Otway National Park, rainforest and surrounding Beech Forest areas, home to glow worms, koalas, kangaroos and even a platypus or two. You can grab a kayak, hike or bike and discover some of this region’s best adventures.
However, the best view of all is from the Otway Fly Treetop Adventure. This is the world’s tallest treetop walk, sitting 25 metres above the forest floor, if you dare! Between 30 minutes to an hour drive you can find Triplet Falls, Beauchamp Falls and Hopetoun Falls; three of the area’s most alluring waterfalls and well worth the rainforest hikes to find them.
Searching for the best lakes
After exploring to the west of Melbourne down the Great Ocean Road, continue your road trip in Victoria and head inland in search of the salt lakes and mineral springs. Lake Tyrell is the largest of the salt lakes and can be absolutely mesmerising in winter months. Less than two hours up the road you can recharge and revitalise in Hepburn Springs, a town home to the largest concentration of mineral springs in Australia.
If this isn’t enough water for you and you’re blessed with time, take a trip up north through the impressive Grampians National Park to Pink Lake or even further up to the Murray Sunset National Park and see the unbelievable lake network there.
If we go east from Melbourne, there’s so much in store. The food and wine you can discover in the Yarra Valley Wine region is impeccable and just an hour drive from Melbourne CBD! Make sure to check out the beautiful wineries at Immense, Zonzo and the oldest winery in the region, Yering Station.
Southeast of the CBD you can find the Mornington Peninsula and Phillip Island, popular weekend holiday destinations for locals. Peninsula Hot Springs is the state’s first natural hot springs and the award winning day spa is just what you need to unwind after an epic road trip, or give you a boost for the next one!
Wilsons Promontory National Park is the southernmost tip of mainland Australia. Here you can find some of the most incredible and remote bushwalks and pristine quartz sand beaches in all of Victoria. The Wilsons Promontory Marine National Park is Victoria’s largest marine protected area. If you’re willing to hike to get the best snorkelling spots, it will be well worth it. The scuba diving around here is untouched and unforgettable. So, if that’s what you’re into, make sure to plan and research your dives carefully because the area and weather can be quite unforgiving and remote.
Great Alpine Road
If you head northeast inland from Melbourne to Albury, or if you’ve been to Wilsons Promontory National Park and then head east through the unfathomably beautiful Gippsland Lakes, you find 340km of rugged but sealed mountain road that takes you right through the middle of the Victorian Alps.
The Great Alpine Road can be a five hour drive and is a must on any road trip in Victoria. It takes you past pristine vineyards, including the household favourite Brown Brothers. You will drive through and stop in villages with the best home-grown produce such as Bright and Beechworth. You will travel down luscious valleys and up into the breath-taking mountain tops.
If you’re into your outdoor adventures, such as skiing, rock climbing, hiking or cycling, you will not be disappointed. Make sure to visit Mount Hotham and Mount Buffalo and then refuel in Bridge Road Brewers.
Beyond road trips in Victoria
Keen for more on this spectacular state? Check out the following articles: